Demon of the Well
Okay, here you go: FDAs (skill 4)
The music's persistently self-aware tackiness wasn't to my taste (certainly fits the concept though, especially for the intermission screen), and map 02 didn't feel right to me, but other than that I thought it was wonderful. Tiny little maps generally aren't really to my taste, but these are just so damned bloody I can't help but revel in them. The amount of variety, both in gameplay and in setting, that you've managed to wring out of the simple floor-by-floor concept deserves high praise as well. I didn't manage to break anything, although I saw some minor visual glitches and what seem to be some non-fatal map dysfunctions in a couple of places, most of which should be obvious from the demos. Some brief map-by-map comments...
Map 01: Nice opening shot. Building's not as tall as I thought it would be, but I guess that means that much more of the final WAD will have a subterranean setting. Not a lot to say here...some folks will probably resent the pistol usage, I don't mind. Didn't like the way the marine has to reach through the guard railing on the elevator to activate the switch (any OSHA representative would run screaming into the night on seeing that), but of course that's a minor nitpick.
Map 02: A bit wonky. Acting like a wiseass and saving the blur sphere 'until I know I need it' ends up causing me some pain, but I still make it. My main thing here is that movement feels really artificially restricted--I understand why I'm not allowed to leap through the windows, but I think I ought to at least be allowed to climb on the desks. A ton of combat takes place through windows here, and there's almost no ammo other than what you get from dead zombies, leading to an ammo drought for me most of the way in, hence my various mournful attempts to grab dropped weapons off of the desks. There's some strange shenanigans with the 'water cooler', not sure what was going on there.
Map 03: There are only a few ways to make maps that are little but tangles of narrow, orthogonal corridors with stuff in them interesting, and this is one of them--own up to it entirely, making no attempt to disguise it. The melee play's a nice change of pace, and I like that there's a spiderdemon who essentially exists for no reason other than to be telefragged. I balk at him initially, and eventually realize that I'm coming back to the start point before I turn back to deal with him....get a little confused there for minute with the lifts, but that's my fault, not the map's. Only occurs to me now that I watch my own demo that I could've used those barrels to kill some stuff.
Map 04: Man, my aim sure did suck on this one. Nothing much to say, other than that this is the map where I started to really get into the WAD, entirely on account of how hilariously violent it gets. Oh, my habit of trying to 'use' most discrete computer consoles (gained through years and years of playing PWADs) pays off here, I guess.
Map 05: Neat time-travel concept. Some of the texture alignments/transitions (particularly on viney textures) in 'the future' are pretty naff, but looks good other than that. It takes me a couple of minutes to figure out the puzzle--I dunno, maybe using a two-switch setup on that column (one to raise/one to lower) would make the course clearer to the player (or maybe I'm just more slow-witted than average). The wandering I do after I get the key and return to 'the present' is me looking for a few monsters that apparently never teleported in.
Map 06: A bit garishly sector-laden, perhaps, but sort of suits the mood. I suspect it might be better to move the soulsphere that sits on the mainframe a bit so that it doesn't block the stairs, and I definitely feel that the teleport to the cyber-reality or whatever it is should work once only. Infinity-tallness might make the last battle a bit sloppy, but there's not a lot to be done about that, I guess.
Map 07: Dead Simple map, but at least there's a twist, + 147 bonus points. The spiderdemon really doesn't work all that well here--just not enough space for him--but I guess he keeps you from bombarding the revenants from the good angle behind the reception desk.
Map 08: 'Hunted' map, more atmospheric/cinematic than truly threatening. I see some texture mismatches (I think I react to one of them in the demo) in this one. One of the viles also never appears; in this case I'm not sure if he's actually stuck outside the play area or if I just didn't trigger him somehow, but I couldn't go back and look for him because the elevator can't be left upon re-entering it.
Map 09: First death here, shit just starts snowballing and gets way out of hand eventually--I love it! Very symmetrical, but it works well for this combat setup. No complaints at all about this one--I like libraries, I like shadows, and I love hyperviolence, and this one has all of those.
Map 10: A map where you can just look at an area and know bad things are about to happen--and they do, more intense swarm-based combat here. When I found the secret I thought 'well that's pretty stupid' but then I was glad that cubbyhole existed all of 30 seconds later, heh. Sounds like there was at least an imp stuck outside the map, but there where so many arch-vile resurrections I got well over 100% kills anyway.
Map 11: Another cool theme, and a second death. Foreknowledge helps a lot on this map (not something I personally have a problem with). The hell knight/barrel/lift setup seems a bit bodged-together and prone to malfunction, but it's not anything that breaks the map. The cyberdemon is well-used here; always warms my dead, Doomed heart to see him made scary/intimidating again.
Maybe I've understated it, but this is really, really cool, dude. Can't wait to see what kind of settings turn up in the other 21 maps. Finish this off to the same standard as this first episode, and this will probably become 'the' tiny-map megaWAD in my eyes.